I loved the glass windows everywhere in this building! It was like a bee hive humming with activity. Wherever you looked, you could see interesting people doing something — so much more than just zines and books. You could also see an amazing playground in a park through those windows. The glass panes were so large and so clean that you felt that you could just step right through them to go outside.
Nine artists from the Tokyo-based Art Byte Critique group showed their mettle at the Tokyo Art Book Fair last week. The artists were Nancy Fan, Arthur Huang, Deanna Koubou, Lyle Nisenholz, Dai Oinuma, Lori Ono, Tanya Tanaka, Marc Tibbs, and Marie Wintzer. Each artist made books that were unique and represented each artist’s personality. I saw Lyle Nisenholz’s book a few months earlier at Dr Sketchy’s Anti-Art School. The drawings were beautiful, and the detail was amazing! He found a way to reproduce all that detail, including the peek-a-boo holes on each page. Arthur Huang’s books tied in nicely with his recent exhibit; Lori Ono used her photography skills to make books featuring the starfish character that she created as well as some tiny, origami-like flower books; Studio Deanna did not crochet her book this time but she did continue to use her needle skills in embroidering some lovely travel journals. I am a fan. Tanya Tanaka’s books had very simple, abstract drawings with more difficult wordplay. Marie Wintzer’s handmade books might not have been as flashy as some of the others but they made me smile. Who hasn’t thought of mascara as a drawing medium? I have but I never composed an ode to it!
The building was part of the Gaien campus for Kyoto University. Two floors of art books, zines, and printers! It was exhausting! It was also a bit of a shame that it was so large. Art books often require more than a few seconds walking by to fully appreciate what the artist intended. Some were amazing! For others, a walk-by was more than enough and even that might have been too much time for the guy who purposefully flashed his not-porno-anymore “art” book that consisted of porn that he had drawn upon and probably only sometimes concealed parts that would target censors. If his work had been more cleverly done and if he had not forced himself and his book within my scope of vision, I might have felt differently. I guess it just shows that these events attract a wide variety of people.
After doing some errands, I stopped for lunch at a cafe that was trying to be Scandinavian in style. Remember that this is Japan, so other countries blur together in one mass of delicious foreignness in many cases. Books on Scandinavian style in Japanese were displayed with random books in Swedish as well as old books in English that were selected to match the decor.
I LOVE BOOKS! Any old book will send chills down my spine. Even more when It feels like I have discovered a secret treasure trove that only I will want to or have the ability to read over lunch. It was impossible to choose just one, so I found three.
Mary Stewart does write a good thriller but the Waverly Children’s Dictionary kept me entranced with its essays, photos, and descriptions from a bygone era. Their choice of examples or the contrasts between choices struck my funny bones, and I started posting my own memes using Overgram to type text on Instagram and Facebook. If it is good enough for Barbara Kruger, it is good enough for me. The title of an essay in one book became a tag for several photos.
At first the contrast between historic meaning and contemporary use struck my fancy.